Vernon L. Burge
Vernon Burge (or Lt. Herbert Dargue) in the Burgess-Wright Hydroaeroplane
Photo from the website,
Courtesy of Roy Nagl
I heartily recommend that you visit his sites.

via email from Roy Nagl, 1-12-2002
Dear Ralph:
     I was just thinking that you might want to take a look at my web pages on early seaplanes at Some of these vintage photos were taken in the Philippines, around 1913, and I believe these photos may relate to the U.S. Air Corps Philippine Air School.
     One of the photos, on the second page, has a closeup of a pilot in a Burgess-Wright Hydroplane, and it may show either Herbert Dargue or Vernon Burge, two of the aviators from the school, who are, also, two of the early birds featured on your web site.
      Of, course, you are welcome to use any of these photos and any help in identifying the photos is always welcome!
Best wishes!
via email from Dave Lam, 9-17-07
Dear Ralph:
     Burge volunteered for "balloon duty" with the Signal Corps Aeronautical Division in August 1907, and retired 31 Jan 1942-- He first flew in April 1912, and made his last flight in October 1941 (in an AT-6). His career spanned the first 35 years of military aviation, during which he had been a pilot for 30-- his total was 4667 hours and 55 minutes of flight time. Truly one of the earliest Army aviation pioneers.

     If you search for "Vernon L. Burge", using the Google search engine, (9-21-07), you will find about 54 links. Perhaps the most helpful is the following.

Vernon L Burge
     This page on the National Museum of the USAF website offers a revue of his career, as well as a nice photograph of him in a Wright B biplane. Included are two links to related subjects, the Wright 1911 Modified B Flyer and the Philippine Flying School. You access the page by clicking on the title above.

They Also Flew
Product Details
Paper: 264 pages; 6x9 inches
Used Price: from $0.47
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution Press 1992
ISBN: 1 56098-108-3
COMMENTS via email from Dave Lam, 9-16-07
     There is LOTS of information on both Burge and Dargue in: Lee Arbon, "They Also Flew-- the Enlisted Pilot Legacy 1912-1942", published by Smithsonian press in 1992. It is available on line, and I recently saw a really cheap copy on ebay. If you want information on early US military aviation, this is a great resource.
     The two flew together at Corregidor in 1913 ( I think Burge was a Sergeant rather than a Corporal by then). Interestingly, the photo at the top of your page on Dargue does not appear to be the Burgess-Wright (#17) in which they flew together in the Phillipines--- That one, of which I have a photo from a book, seems to have had an enclosed "cockpit" area, rather than the oldstyle "sit on the wing" system of this Burgess-Wright. I wonder if they subsequently modified the aircraft to have an enclosed, boat-like, cabin??
     Dargue died as a Major General in a plane crash 12 Dec 1941, 5 days after Pearl Harbor, in the crash of a transport Plane while enroute to the West Coast with war plans.

  Col. Vernon L. Burge, USAF retired, died September 6, 1971. He was the last surviving member of the historic 1st Aviation Detachment of the U.S. Army. He made his first solo flight in the Phillipines March 1, 1912, becoming the first enlisted man to become a pilot in the Army. He retired in 1945, with the rank of colonel, after 38 years in the military service.
From The Early Birds of Aviation CHIRP
January 1973, Number 79

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